Thursday, September 06, 2012

Seasons of a Writer

“When is your next book coming out?” Someone asked me at a recent event. I had not seen this person in several years and they assumed I was still writing many books. While I still have my fingers on the keyboard every day, often I'm not writing for print or publication. 

I've learned there are different seasons of the writing life. Some days the words simply flow out of my fingers. When I’m in the throes of a book project and facing a deadline, I find the words and stories fly into my computer.

During this particular season, I was writing my own books but also writing books for others. It was a constantly juggling where I was working on a book proposal or two which I sent to an editor or agent. While these proposals were being considered, I was writing on a different book. When those proposals found a publisher, I lined up that writing and there was a steady flow of work headed my direction. During this season I was constantly writing for magazines which provided shorter deadlines and a different type of regular writing. 

Into this mixture, I began to collaborate on books with others. I wrote more than a dozen of these types of books with others. Some of these books were co-authored books and a few of them were ghostwritten. I have a complete list of my books on my website in the portfolio section. To some people, it is remarkable that I've written over 60 books but I tell people you do it just like eating an elephant—one book at a time.

In recent years, my writing life has shifted into a different season. Much of my work is helping others get their work published. As an acquisitions editor at Morgan James, I'm involved speaking with authors (or their literary agents) about their book projects. 

Also I'm reading sections of unpublished books or manuscripts or proposals and searching for excellent material. Or I'm crafting my reasons for recommending an author to my publication board at Morgan James. Or I'm explaining the details of a contract and answering author questions. It is a different aspect of the publishing business from producing my own books but I have discovered great joy helping others get their work into the marketplace.

I continue writing for several different magazines on a regular basis including a column called Book Proposal Bootcamp for Southern Writers.

My own writing goes in spurts. Yes, I’m committed to continuing to add entries to The Writing Life. Often I can’t write as frequently as I would like because of travel, speaking and other life events. You can see my fall travel schedule is filled with opportunities and I find it exciting. I hope to see some of you on the road and we can talk about your ideas and book projects.

My hope is these lessons provide valuable insight and encouragement to each of you as you face your own season in your writing life. Which season are you in for your writing life?

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